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vol. 28 no. 7
E m p o w e r i n g t h e Wo r l d
o f Higher Education
April/May 2015
While data has become an essential tool for
decision-making, analytics are a tricky business.
From tech tools and tips to research and
faculty support, here’s everything you
need to know about flipped learning.
Many universities are now opting to pay somebody
else to keep open source projects moving forward.
USC’s business school explains how it’s launching
an online degree program entirely in-house.
The Open Cloud Consortium is working to meet the
needs of multi-institution big data projects.
From tech tools and tips to research and faculty
support, here’s everything you need to know about
flipped learning.
How It Works
5 Keys to Flipped Learning Success
Flipped Learning Research Efforts
5 Free (or Low-Cost) Tools for Flipped Learning
For a Better Flip, Try MOOCs
5 Lecture Capture Hacks for More Engaging Videos
What Does Faculty Support Look Like?
2 | LOGIN The Tools of Change
3 | CAMPUS & INDUSTRY IT Development MOOCs and More
39 | C-LEVEL VIEW A Team to Create and Deliver Learning
43 | INDEX
Lo g i n
The fact is, schools that invest in mobile learning are responding to a fundamental truth: Technology has become ubiquitous
in students’ everyday lives, and institutions must adapt to students’ technology expectations in order to stay relevant.
According to Refuel Agency, a research firm specializing in
The Tools of Change
youth and niche consumer markets, the average college student
Technology is fundamentally changing the practice of teaching
and learning in higher education.
owns seven technology devices. With the growing popularity of
wearable tech, that figure could easily double in the next few
years. The proliferation of devices is an opportunity not to be
This piece will appear in The Digital Revolution in Higher
more collaborative work. Some have run MOOCs and on-
Education: How and Why the Internet of Everything Is
campus courses concurrently, allowing students to interact
Suppose a Google Glass-like product becomes the next
Changing Everything, a new book from the Public Tech-
online with a global community of learners. Others have used
must-have device — every college student comes to campus
nology Institute (find it May 1 on
the experience of teaching a MOOC to improve their brick-and-
wearing a powerful computerized eyepiece. Students record
mortar courses, armed with new skills, technologies and tech-
video streams of their learning experiences, documenting their
For years, thought leaders in higher education have warned of
niques for engaging students. In many cases, these efforts have
work in an immersive, authentic manner. Each learning moment
disruptive change looming on the horizon. And with the advent
had a measurable, positive effect on student learning outcomes.
is augmented with a visible backchannel of social media chat-
of MOOCs, many proclaimed that the forces of change had
MOOCs are just one example of technology’s impact on
ter or helpful information from the Web. With a flick of the wrist,
come to a head. Now that students could access high-quality
higher education. Students today have access to a dizzying
a student can move learning content from his eyepiece to a
courses on any topic, anytime, anywhere — for free — what array of tools for learning — and the tools are changing all the
larger classroom display for collaboration with peers, whether
time. Take mobile technologies, for example: A decade ago,
he is physically present or beaming in from afar. Faculty can tap
Doomsdayers were convinced that professors would be Duke University redefined mobile learning by handing out iPods
into a rich stream of data from the devices, measuring subtle
replaced by video lectures. Venerable universities would crum- to its entire freshman class. A few years later, Abilene Christian
head movements, sleep patterns, breakfast habits and more to
University did the same with iPhones, and then with iPads. How
help determine students’ comprehension of course material.
need would they have for a traditional college education?
ble and shut down. Degrees would become valueless trinkets.
Rhea Kelly,
Executive Editor
In reality, though, MOOCs have been long until every college student is wearing an Apple watch?
missed — a chance to innovate and embrace change.
Everything feeds into a limitless data repository, continuously
less of a death sentence and more of a
It’s important to mention, too, that these gadgets are part of
tool for a long-overdue revamp of the
comprehensive mobile initiatives focused on enhancing teach-
Is all that technology really necessary for learning? Of course
practice of teaching and learning. Innova- ing and learning. Curricula are redesigned to leverage mobility;
not; students have passively listened to lectures for hundreds
tive faculty have experimented with using mobile apps enable collaboration and learning on the go; e-text-
of years. But when a tool can make learning more interactive
MOOC content as a digital textbook, ask- books provide affordable, interactive learning materials; faculty
and engaging, increase access to more students, and identify
ing students to review recorded lectures
receive support and resources to change the way they teach;
and support students at risk of falling behind, it would be a
in advance and reserving class time for
and results are carefully monitored to evaluate what works best.
shame not to use it.
updated and analyzed to support student success.
Continue the conversation.
E-mail me at [email protected]
Campus +Industry
by “pinging” the location of students’
and advisers at the college will use the
capabilities.” DARPA’s initial goal with Me-
first for both companies, edX and Micro-
iPads using geolocation technology
My Academic Plan education-planning
mex is to fight human trafficking by track-
soft have partnered to launch IT develop-
and proprietary campus mapping.
tool to help map out individual courses
ing criminals’ use of the Web to attract
for students and set academic goals, as
customers. Read the full story online.
ment courses on the edX online learning
platform. Taught by Microsoft experts,
(The insitution’s iPad initiative provides an iPad mini to all students on
campus.) University administrators
well as the Journal tool to communicate
and share information. SSP also features
tools for early alerts; counseling and
Mellon University (PA) expects to save
proving attendance rates, citing data
interventions; action plans; and student
about 10 percent on utilities costs —
ments and exercises. Students can enroll
that Lynn students who miss one-
self-help. Read the full story online.
nearly $2 million annually — by install-
for free or obtain a verified certificate for
quarter of their classes per semester
a fee. Read the full story online.
have a 68 percent chance of earning
ties on its Pittsburgh campus. Starting
a grade point average below 2.0. If a
Researchers at the NYU Polytechnic
with a nine-building pilot, Carnegie Mel-
student’s device is not found at the
spring, Lynn University (FL) will pilot
scheduled class time, the system
School of Engineering are developing
lon will use the new IBM Building Man-
Core Principle’s Class120, technol-
can send e-mail or text alerts to des-
methods to explore hard-to-find informa-
agement Center, delivered on the IBM
ogy that monitors class attendance
ignated individuals. Read the full
tion on the Web — both on the surface
SoftLayer cloud, to “monitor thousands
and on the deep Web, the realm not
of data points from building automa-
indexed by standard commercial search
tion and control systems,” according
the courses focus on core development
skills for cloud and mobile technologies,
and feature interactive coding, assess-
hope the implementation will help
boost student performance by im-
story online.
engines. Juliana Freire, a professor in the
part of its mission to promote student
Department of Computer Science and
success, Jefferson College (MO) is
Engineering, has been awarded $3.6
working with Unicon to implement Stu-
million by the U.S. Defense Advanced
dent Success Plan (SSP), open source
Research Projects Agency as part of its
case-management software that pro-
Memex program, a “three-year research
vides “a holistic coaching and counsel-
effort to develop software that will enable
ing model for integrated planning and
domain-specific indexing of open, public
advising services.” Coaches, counselors
Web content and domain-specific search
Courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University
Microsoft’s “Programming
with C#” course on edX
ing a smart building system in 36 facili-
Campus +Industry
to a press release. The solution uses
up games with college economics texts.
Webinars on Demand
analytics and asset management tools
MobLab will create a library of hands-
Register for the latest Campus
to monitor overall building performance,
on experiments in which students can
Technology webinars online.
identify trends in building use and pro-
produce their own data as they simu-
May 3–5
The Software & Information Industry
vide insights for facilities decision-
late markets, allowing them to apply the
Transform Campus Desktops and
making. Read the full story online.
economics concepts they’re learning
Labs With Education-on-Demand
SIIA Education Industry Summit
Learn why colleges and universities
San Francisco
are turning to desktops as a service, or
May 3–8
about. Instructors can customize each
game to match their curriculum so that
DaaS, for a secure and affordable solu-, a company that designs
students receive real-time results and
tion to deliver desktops, apps and labs
and creates experiential games, is
data analytics that allow them to test
from the cloud — letting students learn
partnering with Worth Publishers, an
their choices against economic theory.
when, where and how they want.
imprint of Macmillan Education, to pair
Read the full story online.
Sponsored by VMware
The Solstice Pod allin-one wireless media
streaming device from
Mersive allows multiple
users to connect, share
and control content on
any display. Read the full
story online.
Designed to make 3D
printing scalable and
easy to implement,
MakerBot’s Starter Lab
kits come with 3D printers, extruders, hardware,
software, filament and
more. Read the full story
KUBI Video 2.0, the video collaboration app for
Revolve Robotics’ KUBI
robotic telepresence platform, now allows users to
“teleport” from one KUBI
to another, anywhere in
the world. Read the full
story online.
Upcoming Events
The Data Warehousing Institute
TDWI Chicago 2015
May 4–7
IMS Global Learning Consortium
Rethinking and Simplifying Security:
Learning Impact Leadership Institute
A Real-World Higher Ed Case Study
The higher education market is a prime
target for cybercriminals. Find out how
May 23–26
National Institute for Staff &
FireEye technology, expertise and intel-
Organizational Development
ligence can protect your organization
2015 International Conference on
from cybersecurity threats.
Teaching and Leadership Excellence
Sponsored by FireEye and Carahsoft
Austin, TX
Virginia Tech’s Iterative IT Service
June 7–10
League for Innovation in the Community
Management Implementation
In late June 2014, Virginia Tech University Libraries purchased TeamDynamix
Learning Summit 2015
— and on July 15 they went live. Here’s
how a philosophy of iterative improvement
June 13–19
helped streamline the implementation.
InfoComm 2015
Sponsored by TeamDynamix
Orlando, FL
A N A LY T I C S michael hart
9 Ways to Doom Your Data Analytics Efforts
While data has become an essential tool for decision-making on campus, analytics are a tricky
business. Here are nine pitfalls to avoid.
HIGHER EDUCATION has been talking about
resources and work. But you don’t
big data for years now. And most schools have come
have to reinvent the wheel, as they
around to the idea that massive amounts of data can be
say. Every department and busi-
collected, analyzed and used to make recommendations
ness unit in your organization has
to decision-makers who must determine the best paths for
been collecting data for decades.
their institutions.
Start by finding out what you
Yet in many ways, data analysis and data-driven deci-
already know. It might be good
sion-making are still in their infancy. According to the Edu-
news: Maybe you already have
cation Advisory Board, just eight institutions have a staff
member who carries the title of chief data officer — out of
answering some simple ques-
4,000 colleges and universities in the United States.
tions. Or, you may learn just how
redundant some of your data col-
the way to successful data analytics. Here are nine com-
lection is. And you’ll certainly learn
mon mistakes, and what some institutions are doing to
what you don’t know.
avoid them.
The truth is, there are countless pitfalls and obstacles on
“The simplest first step is to take
a look at what you already have
Mistake #1: Reinvent the wheel.
and begin to mine it using fairly traditional techniques,”
Mistake #2: Aim too high.
Deciding to move to data-based decision-making is a sig-
said Jim Kulich, vice president and chief information officer
You don’t have to transform your entire institution with your
nificant step for any institution to make. It will take time,
at Elmhurst College in Illinois.
first data-based initiative. When you start out, keep it sim-
ple. Decide what you want to know, what decisions you
started its data governance project a few years before
ably come up with an average or mean to describe any-
want to inform.
that. At this point, the university has more than 800 differ-
thing. But what difference does it make?
“You can ask yourself some simple questions to begin,”
ent definitions it uses when dealing with data.
“For example, if you look at any common data source,
said Kamran Khan, vice provost for information technology at
“When you start pulling information into a system, all of
you’ll get an unholy term called the average discount rate,”
Rice University (TX). “Maybe you want to know how to pre-
a sudden it really does matter that we all have the same
Kulich said, “which is nothing more than the percentage of
dict student success. How do you look at different types of
idea of what we’re talking about when we say the word
your tuition income that you rebate to financial aid.”
courses being taught? What are your space requirements?”
‘student,’” Chapple said.
No matter what, start with some very specific questions
to answer and see where that takes you.
If you know that, what do you know?
“Maybe you’ve got super-smart kids who have high ACT
Mistake #4: Rely on averages.
scores and you’re giving big scholarships to,” he said, “but
Slice and dice to your heart’s content, and you can prob-
maybe you’ve got other kids who aren’t so stellar academi-
Mistake #3: Assume everybody’s talking
about the same thing.
How many students do you have? Would the answer to
that question be the same if you asked the registrar or the
dean of academic affairs? Do you count everybody who
takes a single class or just those who have full schedules?
And when do you count them? At the beginning of the
semester? Halfway through? At the end?
This is where the concept of data governance comes in.
You need to come up with a mechanism so that everybody
on campus knows they’re talking about the same thing. “It’s
important to make sure you have a good data governance
group from different areas across the campus,” noted Khan.
Michael Chapple, senior director of IT service delivery at
the University of Notre Dame (IN), has had a full-time
data steward on staff for a year and a half, but Notre Dame
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3/23/15 11:30 AM
cally but their families have means. Nobody is average.”
When you examine data, make sure you know what the
and state laws that compel institutions to protect data
it at the same time?” Davis asked. “Finding the right bal-
security and privacy.
ance between those two is really important.”
distribution looks like. Get a sense of the shape of things
“We come from environments where, unless you had a
before you start making recommendations that could lead
need to know the data, it wasn’t naturally shared and we
Mistake #7: Neglect institutional leadership.
to bad policy.
weren’t transparent about it,” said Lisa Davis, chief infor-
Being successful with any data-driven decision-making
mation officer at Georgetown University (DC).
initiative has to mean you have the full support of the insti-
Mistake #5:
Believe you know what you’re doing.
better advantage of the data they collect to make intelli-
You have people on your staff who have been engrossed
gent decisions, they have to find a way to share it.
in collecting data and spitting out reports for years. You
And yet, if institutions of higher education want to take
“How do we make the data accessible but also protect
tution in collecting data, analyzing it and then incorporating it into recommendations that create change.
“You’re going to need to rally the troops around the institution,” Chapple said.4
can trust them to take the next step and start analyzing
that data, right?
Your Source For
Maybe, maybe not. Academia has been working with big
data and data analytics for years now, and very smart
people are coming up with new methodologies all the
time. Doesn’t it make sense to take advantage of those
new ways of thinking about data?
“You don’t just go and find the person who did this 15
years ago for a master’s thesis using some limited meth-
Low Prices, Huge Inventory On All
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ods and apply them again,” Kulich said. “There are simple
things that are new and can make a big difference.”
Mistake #6: Choose security over transparency.
Those who either officially or unofficially have been
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referred to as “data stewards” have long taken their
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Untitled-2 1
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JULY 27-30
Hynes Convention Center
Boston, MA
22nd Annual Education Technology Conference
And you can’t do that unless you
South Carolina. “You have to have a
have the full support of the top leaders
grasp of statistics, but there’s also
in your institution. You need them to
psychology. You’ve got to understand
believe there’s value in what you’re
what types of visuals make things real
doing, take it seriously and then com-
for somebody.”
municate that belief to everybody else
on campus.
“Absolutely the most critical thing is
Mistake #9: Think this is
going to be quick and easy.
to get leadership support for the
Maybe you do start out with some
effort,” Chapple said. “If you don’t
simple questions, but the hope, of
have senior-level support, you can’t
course, is that you can apply some
hope to be successful.”
sweeping transformations that lead
to student success and revolution-
Mistake #8: Give your
president the whole picture.
ize your institution. Never assume
For even the smartest, most analytical
mass of data is all it will take to
decision-makers, a blur of numbers is
change the course of a complex
… a blur of numbers. Give somebody
that applying a simple formula to a
too much information that does not
“This kind of thing definitely takes a
appear to be relevant, and you’re not
lot of time and work,” Khan said. “You
really helping them very much.
need to keep people up-to-date on
If the data tells a story — as those
who love data believe it does — find
where you are and you have to have
buy-in from the community.”
Make Campus Technology part of
your professional development
strategy for 2015. Join industry
thought-leaders and experts
at the nation’s premier higher
education technology conference,
produced by the award-winning
Campus Technology team.
a way to tell the story.
“Data visualization is a huge piece
Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based
of data analytics,” said Mike Kelly,
freelance writer and the former exec-
chief data officer at the University of
utive editor of THE Journal.
Conference: July 27-30
Exhibit Hall: July 28-29
O P E N S O U R C E dian schaffhauser
The Changing Cost of Open Source
At one time higher ed wanted community-built software because of the $0 price tag; now many
universities are paying somebody else to keep open source projects moving forward.
LAST YEAR, when the Kuali Foundation announced
with several higher ed institutions,
that it was going to add a “professional open source com-
among them Embry-Riddle Aero-
pany” to the Kuali ecosystem, it was acknowledging a tru-
nautical University and the Uni-
ism about the use of community-built software in higher
versity of Texas System, to guide
education: Sometimes throwing money at a problem real-
its development of a cloud-based
ly is the best way to get things done.
student information system. Customer feedback is nothing new.
Kuali needed faster delivery of outcomes; completion of
What is new, however, is that Ora-
products; an improved user experience; and a way to dis-
cle also joined Internet2 in order to
tribute development costs across more institutions. Instead
be able to offer its higher ed cloud
of waiting around for the community to address the gaps,
services through that organization’s
this most distinguished of institutional open source initia-
NET+ service program. In other
tives spun out a C corp. KualiCo, as it was named, would
words, the company decided to tap
generate revenue by hosting open source software for
into the community’s wisdom for
schools and through development projects. Its initial fund-
vetting its roadmap.
ing would come from the foundation. Although the Kuali
As a document that outlines the arrangement explains,
Both of these represent an infu-
functionality would continue to be open source, the infra-
sion of proprietary interests into the community model to
just might help turn around the thinking of institutional
structure to allow cloud hosting would be privately owned.
ensure that the work moves forward. And institutions are
leaders who aren’t persuaded that open source is right
Around the same time, Oracle revealed plans to work
discovering that a certain level of corporate involvement
for their campuses.4
Making the Case for
Community Development
about which direction to go,” he
George Washington University had
an open source CMS.
recalled. That turned out to be Drupal,
already outgrown its commercial
Just how did a resistant adminis-
content management system by the
tration come to be comfortable with
time Mark Albert, director of univer-
open source? Albert pointed to two
sity Web services, joined the Wash-
key motivators:
ington, DC, school in 2010. New
Plenty of other institutions have
Web sites would take a couple of
already adopted it. When Albert
weeks to roll out, and that just wasn’t
posted a message to a Drupal listserv
“agile” enough, said Albert. By the
asking for other schools that were
following year the search for a
using Drupal, they came out in droves.
tools you need to ensure that your campus remains competitive,
replacement was underway.
People from Washington University
pedagogically and institutionally, via the latest wave of technologies
An initial assessment included only
in St. Louis (MO), the University of
commercial products. Although Albert
Missouri School of Journalism, San
had worked with community projects
Francisco State University (CA),
previously at other institutions, this
Wright State University (OH), Penn
time around “the climate of open
State University, Oregon State Uni-
source was not well received on the
versity, Portland State University
administrative level,” he said.
(OR) and many others spoke up,
Feeling dissatisfied with the options,
IT pulled some open source options
advising on which version of the software to deploy.
into the mix and eventually brought
The school didn’t have to go it
what it considered the best from both
alone. Albert was able to demon-
categories — commercial and open
strate that support organizations exist
source — to GW’s senior leadership.
for just about any kind of community-
“They sort of helped make a decision
built product. The Drupal site, in par-
Are you looking for ways to get more out of your institution’s
investment in social, mobile, virtual and cloud-based technologies?
Attend Campus Technology Forum 2015 where you’ll find all the
for higher education.
Featured speakers include:
Perry Samson
Professor Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, Arthur Thurnau Professorship,
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Sabba Quidwai
Director of Innovative Learning, Keck School of Medicine of the University
of Southern California
William Perry
Chief Information Security Officer, California State University
ticular, lists some 33 U.S.-based companies specifically
types and Drupal “modules”) and “essentially have a cus-
A Hybrid Strategy
with experience in the education sector that provide Dru-
tom look with a managed system,” Albert explained.
Come this June, a year will have passed since the intro-
pal development, consulting, data migration, hosting and
The university uses a shared file structure so that every-
duction of Unizin, a university-driven effort focused on
body is operating from the same set of components even
managing all aspects of digital teaching and learning. But
The university has since launched somewhere between
as their images and content are stored separately for each
don’t call it “open source.”
350 and 400 Web sites, all built on Drupal 7. Albert and
site. That approach, said Albert, “enables us to provision
Unizin is not a community-sourced development project,
his colleagues created what they call the “GW Drupal
a site quickly. It also enables us to roll out new features to
according to CEO Amin Qazi: “We are not soliciting donat-
Cookie Factory,” which he said allows for the quick deploy-
not only new sites but also existing sites.”
ed resource times from our members.” Like Internet2, which
other services.
ment of a site — enabling users to add content within
Now the university is awaiting the arrival of Drupal 8,
is the organization under which Unizin is housed, a consor-
hours versus the previous system that took weeks. While
the next major release of the CMS, which is currently in
tium of advisory committees determine the project’s evolu-
the CMS is centrally managed to keep the system updat-
beta testing. But Albert doesn’t anticipate jumping on it
tion. But they won’t be doing the coding themselves — that
ed, it grants individual colleges, programs and depart-
immediately. “We’ll wait until 8 is more stable, just so
will be handled by an office set up in Austin, where employ-
ments the flexibility to put up their own images, update text
that somebody else has the opportunity to work out the
ees will do the development work to integrate the various
as they want, add and move site objects (themes, content
bugs,” he said.
components that make up the offering.
Initially, Marist College’s (NY) Open Academic Analytics Initiative was going to include an API that would capture
user activity data and allow it be used by whatever early alert analytics-based tools were in place at a given institution.
Eventually, that part of the grant-funded work was deemed “a tedious feat”; so the organizers turned to Pentaho (soon
to be owned by Hitachi) for its data mining capabilities.
Student Success Plan is a case management application that delivers coaching and counseling to students as they show
signs of risk. Sinclair Community College (OH), where it was launched, hired open source services provider Unicon to
handle the integration between SSP and the school’s uPortal portal software, to give users seamless access to SSP data.
The approach resembles that pragmatic makeover of
open source undertaken by Kuali. Rather than committing hours of staff time to develop software, Unizin’s
founding member schools (including Indiana University and Colorado State) are committing dollars —
$1.05 million each over the course of three years. If it
sounds hefty, remember: That’s still a pittance compared to the cost of equivalent digital content services
on the commercial market.
Unizin is also partnering with commercial entities —
“companies that support open standards and open
access to content and to data,” said Qazi. That doesn’t
Austin JUNE 1 -4
“When we talk to providers and we sign agreements,
we look for opportunities to make sure our data is
equally accessible. It’s never locked into a proprietary
format. That type of openness isn’t exclusive
to open source.” — Amin Qazi, Unizin
necessarily equate to open source,
talk to providers and we sign agree-
he pointed out.
ments, we look for opportunities to
For example, Unizin has locked into
make sure our data is equally acces-
the use of Instructure Canvas, a learn-
sible; that if it is in one system — for
ing management system available to
example, Canvas — our content can
the consortium members under a dis-
be easily retrieved by our members.
count arrangement. This arrangement
It’s never locked into a proprietary for-
isn’t just technology-driven; the two
mat that we can’t read without that
entities appear to be kindred spirits.
software. We’re looking for vendors
While Instructure is a commercial
that do that; that type of openness
venture, it offers an open source ver-
isn’t exclusive to open source.”
sion of its software under the Affero
He believes that open source is
General Public License, which allows
“evolving to a primary role for risk mit-
a customer to freely download, host
igation in this cloud era rather than
and modify its code. Instructure
just as a means of production and
retains copyright over Canvas and
development,” adding, “I don’t think
includes some functionality in its
the two are in conflict.”
cloud-based hosted version that isn’t
in the open source edition.
Qazi described the Unizin philosophy of partnering this way: “When we
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior con-
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G A M E - C H A N G I N G T E C H N O L O G I E S F O R T O D AY ’ S C A M P U S
THESE ARE TRANSFORMATIVE times for higher education.
within the classroom. In all cases, more and more content
Dramatic leaps in technology are enabling institutions to
is being delivered via a wide variety of mobile devices.
offer learning in ways never before possible, from students
At the same time, cost constraints and shrinking IT staffs
who bring their own devices—usually several per student—
make it tough for IT departments to rise to the challenges.
to campus and expect to connect to classmates on the fly,
Managing a myriad of BYOD student devices on combined
to faculty who are flipping the classroom and recording
wireless and wired networks is a must across today’s cam-
lectures to be viewed outside class, with more discussion
pus, but can also keep IT managers working late and tossing and turning at night.
The proven technology of virtualization can help. In particular, virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI, builds on
Images provided by
the accepted concept of server virtualization, long popular in higher education because it maximizes resources
and minimizes cost. In the same way, virtual desktop in-
tion that is far less expensive and easier to maintain than
frastructure means that students work from thin clients or
old-style endless desktop personal computers, and an
in web sessions opened on mobile computing devices,
excellent fit for higher education.
including their own iPads, tablets, notebooks or smart-
Taking that concept a step further, the technology
phones. VDI eliminates traditional PC desktops, moving
known as desktop as a service, or DaaS, shifts manage-
them out of the classroom, lab, or library and onto virtual
ment of virtual desktop infrastructure from on-premises
desktops on backend servers in a data center. It’s an op-
data centers to the cloud, where management is handled
G A M E - C H A N G I N G T E C H N O L O G I E S F O R T O D AY ’ S C A M P U S
by a third party. In a nutshell, DaaS means that students
mean a dramatic reduction in IT services needed. Sud-
eliminates the single point of failure that characterized
who bring their own devices to campus—an iPad or other
denly, campus IT staff can focus on more important issues
physical desktops.
tablet device, for example, a smartphone, or one of the
than keeping a vast range of student devices up and run-
Moving computing costs into the operating ex-
increasingly popular tablets that run Google’s Chrome
ning, and constantly installing and updating new software.
pense column. DaaS also shifts budgeting costs in a
operating system, known as Chromebooks—can access
Onboarding of new students each semester or school
way that can make technology more affordable, because
their desktops in the cloud. With off-premise cloud man-
year is easy, as is scaling computing power up or down as
it moves technology dollars from capital expenses to op-
agement provided by an experienced vendor, delivering
needed. Business continuity is enhanced because DaaS
erating expenses. Because cloud-based DaaS works
virtual desktops loses its complexity, up-front expense,
and management challenges.
The benefits of combining virtual desktop infrastructure
with cloud computing include:
Computing anytime, anywhere. Today’s students
have grown up with near-constant access to mobile devices and wireless networks. Their computing expecta-
Chromebooks and Windows
The popularity of Google Chromebooks has soared in the past several years, as low prices and
ease of manageability have drawn the attention of both schools and students. But Chromebooks
bring an attendant issue: users cannot access Windows applications, data and desktops.
With virtual desktop technology, however, wide arrays of devices are generally supported.
tions of their college or university are high – to connect
That means that no matter what device a student brings to class, with the right VDI vendor, that device will be supported—in-
with networks anywhere across multiple campuses at any
cluding Apple iOS devices, Android devices, and Chromebooks. Windows desktop sessions on a Chromebook are run as a
time, to collaborate with classmates across devices and
web session, so access is transparent. To the user, any computing session is the same as any other.
applications, and to access computing resources around
Imagine a student who suddenly needs access to a high-end engineering design application to complete an assignment
the clock. DaaS delivers that computing experience, al-
at the last minute. Instead of rushing to a lab on campus to run the application, if the student’s institution has the right virtual
lowing students to log in to the cloud and access their
desktop technology in place, he or she can log into an inexpensive Chromebook from his or her dorm room, remotely launch
desktops anytime, anywhere.
the application with all of its computer power, and complete the assignment. Students can also collaborate with classrooms
Reduction in IT forces. Moving the management of
hundreds or even thousands of desktops to the cloud can
via their Chromebook—regardless of where they are or what device they are using. Using their own virtual desktops, students
and professors can share large files with others without actually downloading them.
G A M E - C H A N G I N G T E C H N O L O G I E S F O R T O D AY ’ S C A M P U S
like a utility, with institutions paying a contracted monthly
er students need access, colleges often choose to ramp
amount for service, it makes expenses predictable and re-
down, reducing operating costs significantly.
liable, without sudden spikes or unplanned cost jumps for
new equipment.
Enhanced security in the cloud. Moving desktops
to the cloud also improves security, because desktops,
Introducing flexibility in computing power. In addi-
applications and files are not stored on end-user devic-
tion to the accounting plus of moving computing expenses
es. If a student misplaces a tablet computer or smart-
from the CAPEX to the OPEX column, DaaS provides a
phone and is concerned about a potential security is-
benefit that is particularly useful in higher education: the
sue, the use of virtual desktops means that any sensitive
ability to ramp services up or down as computing needs
information is safely stored off site. Since it’s accessible
rise and fall. For example, an institution can plan to con-
only with the correct password credentials, security is
tract for additional computing power during the first weeks
assured despite the loss.
of class, or during finals periods, when computing needs
Superior user experience. DaaS is a great way to give
generally spike. In contrast, during the summer, when few-
all users, regardless of the cost or sophistication of their
end-user device, a top-notch computing experience. Stu-
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dents sporting an array of computing devices, from desktops to notebooks to tablets to smartphones, simply log into
managed remotely on the cloud doesn’t mean a loss of
the cloud to access their virtual desktop. Wherever they are,
control. Just the opposite. Colleges and universities can
they experience a high-end computing experience—DaaS
customize user desktops to reflect the logos, colors and
maintains or even improves on the quality of the device’s
personalities of the institution. In the same manner, us-
output. And with cloud computing, desktop sessions rapidly
ers can alter their desktops to reflect personal tastes and
resume, enabling users to quickly pick up—even on another
preferences, just as they are used to doing on their own
device—where they left off in their last computing session.
devices. Desktops aren’t forced to conform to a desktop
Customizable design. Just because desktops are
operating system appearance.
G A M E - C H A N G I N G T E C H N O L O G I E S F O R T O D AY ’ S C A M P U S
COMBINE THE CONCEPT of virtual desktops—desktops
ing some big trends in the higher education space re-
delivered by a backend server rather than on student de-
garding DaaS,” according to Josue Fontanez, the senior
vices—with the power of the cloud, and the combination
product line marketing manager for desktop-as-a-ser-
is the revolution in desktop computing known as DaaS
vice at VMware, a leader in virtual computing. “Many
(desktops as a service).
institutions have already dipped their toes in the wa-
The concept of desktops as a service isn’t new to
ter with on-premises virtual desktops.” VMware offers a
most higher education institutions. In fact, “we’re see-
range of DaaS solutions for higher education under its
Horizon Air brand.
With many campuses already familiar with on-premises
virtual desktops through production deployments, Fon-
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tanez said, moving to DaaS is an obvious next step. Doing so simply transfers management of the virtual desktop infrastructure for the campus IT department, to a
for institutions to experiment with smaller cloud deploy-
vendor such as VMware.
ments, then expand the deployment further as the ben-
The fact that VMware has seen a number of institutions
efits become obvious.
who have rolled out virtual desktops for a specific class
That ties into another of the big benefits of DaaS for
or department highlights one of the benefits of DaaS: the
higher education: its flexibility. “We see lots of expanded
ability to make a gradual move to it. It’s common—and
uses in temporary environments,” Fontanez said. “Uni-
easy through VMware’s programs for higher education—
versities bring in DaaS to support a particular class or
G A M E - C H A N G I N G T E C H N O L O G I E S F O R T O D AY ’ S C A M P U S
environment. When the class is over, they can scale back
down.” With a cloud service, institutions pay for the computing services they need, when they need them. When
finals week is over, or when a specific class ends, contracted computing use can ramp back down.
For the students who are a college or university’s end
users, virtual desktops create a transparent way to use
any device they bring to campus, helping institutions deal
with the familiar phenomenon known as BYOD. “The ability to access a workspace on any device is huge, especially for students,” Fontanez pointed out. It’s also a big
benefit for the institution, of course. “So many students
easier, and also ensures that every student, regardless
come to campus with everything from Chromebooks to
of device or background, is ensured the same computing
Macs to tablets that it’s hard for universities to keep pace
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with all these devices.”
Supporting Google Chromebooks, which are soaring
From iPads to PCs to Chromebooks to Macs to tablets
in popularity in education, is another benefit of VMware’s
in general, the wide range of student devices now used
solution. Chromebooks don’t run Windows applications
on campus has universities scrambling to keep track of
natively, creating problems for schools that need to do
them, and to offer wired and wireless access as well as
just that. “You can’t install a Windows app on a Chrome-
connectivity in classrooms and among student popula-
book,” Fontanez pointed out, but “with VMware, that is-
tions. With virtual desktops, universities can give every
sue is solved. Essentially, you don’t have to worry about
student a standard workspace without having to worry
it. No matter what device a student brings to campus, we
about end-user devices. That makes management far
can support it.”
dian schaffhauser
8 Best Practices for Moving Courses Online
While a lot of schools are teaming up with third-party companies to launch online versions of longstanding degree programs, USC’s business school is doing the work in-house. Here’s how.
THE FIRST TIME Patricia Mills was invited to serve
Now, Mills unequivocally states
as a “guinea pig” instructor for a new program to turn one of
that going through the process of
her face-to-face tax classes into an online course, she was
converting her course to an online
open-minded but highly skeptical. This clinical professor of
format has made her a better
accounting at the University of Southern California Mar-
instructor. Here’s how USC Mar-
shall School of Business checked out samples of other
shall works its magic.
courses created by Marshall’s Online Learning unit, and
couldn’t see how her classes would work in that format.
1) Start small.
“I had no clue how to envision it differently than the way we
Marshall is introducing an online
had always been doing it, which is getting up in front of the
master’s in business administra-
classroom, teaching from a textbook and Internal Revenue
tion this year, adding to a portfolio
code and regulations, going through numbers and calcula-
of five other MBA offerings already
tions and writing things on the board,” she recalled.
delivered by the school.
On top of that, she had always assumed the students
First, however, its internal online
needed her presence and her lectures in order to learn
learning organization got its feet
the material. The proposed online format made her ques-
wet by developing two smaller
tion the role of the instructor in the classroom. And she
master’s degree programs: one in business taxation (the
According to Sandra Chrystal, Marshall’s vice dean of
was concerned that somehow the USC “brand” might be
program Mills is involved in) and another in global supply
online programs, small enrollment goals and slow growth
watered down.
chain management.
are essential, helping make sure faculty development and
A faculty video session at USC Marshall School of Business
expansion can keep pace. That translates to sections with
changes the way we want them. If something doesn’t work,
particularly in digital marketing because that’s where most
about 20 to 25 students. “We’re going to do a single [stu-
we can make the change right now. We don’t have to be
of our prospects are going to come from.”
dent cohort] the first year. We want to make sure everything
in line with the four other clients that the company has.”
Besides that, there’s the practical question of revenue
test every way we can before we expand this,” she explained.
sharing. “If you go with an external partner, depending on
The Online Learning team schedules a course conversion
One limitation on growth is faculty expansion. “Right now
the company and the contract, you’re doing a healthy rev-
process four to six months in advance. That’s how long it
enue split,” Chrystal noted.
takes to do it right, said Chrystal. In fact, she added, fac-
we don’t want a lot of big sections until we can hire more
faculty,” she said. The process of hiring can take about a
While in-house development doesn’t come cheap, she
ulty “have to sign a memo of understanding with us saying
year for any given position. “We meet with a lot of people
said, “We call it research and development. We call it fac-
that they will give us four to six hours per week for four to
and go through a lot of portfolios and interviews, and then
ulty training. The dean and the cabinets have all said this
six months prior to teaching the class.”
we hire those who we feel are the best people. We don’t
is where [they] want to invest the money now. And we do
For those new to the process, the first go-around will take
go out and do wholesale hiring.”
believe in three to five years we will have a steady state of
longer than the second time. “If you’re doing a course for
several hundred students in these programs” — without
the second time, it’s much, much easier, because you have
the revenue split.
the ideas, know how to set up the outcomes, [understand]
2) Invest in-house.
3) Patience is a virtue.
is working right. It’s a very soft rollout. Then we’re going to
Marshall could have chosen to contract with an outside
However, Chrystal was quick to affirm that the business
what kind of assessments you should do every week. It’s
company to build its newest MBA program. After all, USC
school’s deal with Embanet “has been satisfactory in every
has plenty of experience in the practice. The business
way. They’ve done everything they should. This in no way
school had already worked with Embanet, a Pearson com-
says they are not good or the idea of an external partner
4) Start with the teaching basics.
pany, to launch a master’s program in library and informa-
is not good.”
In the first phase of a course re-conceptualization, an
just easier to understand the whole process,” she noted.
tion science, and USC’s schools of education and social
And she’s not averse to using outside help. Currently, for
instructional designer meets with the instructor to under-
work contracted with an outside service provider (2U) to
example, her organization is interviewing several service
stand the learning objectives (what a student will need to
build online programs as well.
providers to help with marketing and recruitment for the
know by the end of the class) and the learning outcomes
Chrystal chose to come down on the side of internal
online programs. “We have a small, wonderful marketing
(how learning will be assessed or measured). That pro-
development. “We want to do in-house instructional design
group, but they can’t take on five new master’s programs.
cess, said Jerry Whitfield, associate director of online
with our curriculum people, our professors and our pro-
They just don’t have the bandwidth to do that,” she
learning, gives the class a “very clear structure.”
duction people. We really feel then that we can make quick
explained. “We’re going to somebody that has expertise
It also opens up the instructor’s eyes to the essential
“It’s one thing to listen to an accounting instructor
sitting in a classroom for two hours. It’s a completely
different experience if you’re sitting behind a computer
monitor and you don’t have any feedback or other
students sitting around you.”
— Jerry Whitfield, USC Marshall School of Business
purpose for the instruction, something
field explained, “It’s one thing to listen
he or she may never have thought
to an accounting instructor sitting in a
much about. As Mills noted, a lot of
classroom for two hours. It’s a com-
the faculty at Marshall come from
pletely different experience if you’re
“practice.” They’ve learned what they
sitting behind a computer monitor and
know by doing it out in the field and
you don’t have any feedback or other
were never really trained in how to
students sitting around you. The chal-
teach. “The idea of really putting a lot
lenge is to take that same instructor
of attention to the learning outcomes
and that same course content and
was brand-new to me,” she said. “We
make it engaging.”
kind of knew what we wanted the stu-
Fortunately, he pointed out, “You
dents to know, but the faculty didn’t
have more tools available to you to
necessarily focus on learning out-
make a course engaging online than
comes and how to get them across.”
you do in a live classroom setting.”
In Mills’ case, the lengthy lectures
5) Encourage new formats.
were replaced with a multitude of
Once the objectives and outcomes are
activities. One of them was the simple
mapped out, the instructional designer
use of discussion boards. “When I
leads the faculty member through pos-
first saw that, I thought, oh, that’s just
sible formats for the course. As Whit-
a little bit of make-work,” she admit-
ted. But what Mills discovered is that the use of online
two to five minutes and introduce a particularly difficult
sure each course retains the qualities that distinguish the
discussions encouraged all the students to converse —
topic or provide background. Those videos are filmed in
individual faculty member. “We want each professor’s idio-
including people who typically didn’t want to talk in class.
the school’s production studio en masse and chopped up
syncrasies to show in each video. We want those idiosyn-
“Suddenly I had 100 percent involvement that I never had
for use throughout the term as required. Whatever format
crasies to be visible in the weekly online synchronous
in the classroom,” she said.
the presentation takes, Mills added, it is supplemented
sessions,” said Chrystal.
Another new technique was the use of outside guest
speakers. “That was something the instructional designers
with interactive exercises “where students are able to
apply what they just learned.”
she explained. Each week he kicks off his classes with a
pushed me to do,” recalled Mills. “I thought, I’m the expert.
Ultimately, said Mills, “I really feel like the course is now
story that goes along with the tie. “It’s a 30-second thing
Why am I doing this?” She added, “It turned out to be
more of a perfect creation than what I had before, when I
that he does. He’s done it for years, and it’s brilliant and
fabulous. Students just love it.” For a tax research class,
would just week-by-week walk into the classroom.” Many
everybody loves him. That’s him. I couldn’t do that with
for instance, she pulled in the head of a tax policy depart-
of the techniques and artifacts have found their way into
anybody else without making it look very corny.”
ment at one of the “big four” accounting firms based in
her traditional courses as well, so those on-campus stu-
Washington, DC, to discuss the tax legislative process.
dents can also benefit.
For another she called on the head of a real estate invest-
Keeping those personal elements in the program helps
ensure the professor feels more comfortable and so do the
students. “They won’t feel they’re getting a cookie-cutter
ment and trust practice. “That’s a specialization we don’t
6) Make it personal.
have among the faculty here,” she noted.
To help foster a personal connection between instructors
template for every course,” she said.
To film those guest lecturers, the online learning team’s
and students, every online course developed internally at
7) Pay attention to production quality.
production crew may visit the expert on site or set up a
Marshall includes a one-hour real-time session. Currently,
Although it isn’t unknown for some institutions to set up
remote recording session. “It makes the class so much
that’s done through WebEx, which allows participants to
instructors in front of a webcam and let them record their
better than I had in the classroom,” Mills said.
see the instructor interacting with them and the faces of
own lectures, that kind of low-cost production quality
For another course, an instructional designer recom-
at least six students. The instructor can view the names of
doesn’t suit Marshall. As Whitfield stressed, “It’s not
mended that Mills set up a fictional case study. The busi-
all of the students and click on a name to bring that per-
engaging. It’s not professional. You don’t have a control of
ness school hired actors to perform in video scenarios to
son’s face onto the screen, as well as hand screensharing
the quality from instructor to instructor. The instructors
illustrate the situations that the students would face in
over to that student to act as the controller for sharing a
aren’t necessarily all going to be on the same page as far
dealing with partnership taxation.
paper or presentation.
as how they structure their given classes.”
And Mills herself stars in “mini-lectures,” videos that last
For example, one instructor “loves to wear a bow tie,”
In particular, the Online Learning team wants to make
Plus, he added, “You don’t have the opportunity in that
San Francisco
15 - 18
scenario to make the courses better, to
dents understand the learning objec-
help the instructors do things in ways
tives. Through quick quizzes, for
they may not even have thought of.”
example, an instructor can uncover
Whitfield, whose own master’s
what isn’t fully understood by the stu-
degree came from what is now USC’s
dents and expand on that immediate-
School of Cinematic Arts, likened the
ly in the synchronous session.
job to filmmaking. “The writer could
“I can correct it right then,” said
put in the script that the character
Chrystal. “That’s a big contrast to what
says in the dialogue, ‘Gee, I love
happened traditionally in all of our
Coca-Cola.’ Or visually they could
courses, which was course evalua-
represent that by [showing] a charac-
tions at the end of the semester.”
ter walking through a house. You see
In other words, the online course
posters of Coca-Cola on the wall. He
conversions can make for better out-
opens the refrigerator; it’s full of
comes in student learning.
Coca-Cola. You see empty Coca-
Of the 17 faculty members who
Cola cans everywhere. It’s the same
have taught in the online courses
point, but which is more effective?
over the last two years, “not all of
That’s what we strive to do with all of
them love to teach online,” she
the courses. We want to make them
observed. “But all 17 of those pro-
more effective using visual tools.”
fessors said that when they went
back to their residential classes, their
8) Help faculty see that
different can be better.
teaching was better. They’re saying
The interactive activities in Marshall’s
our students.”
it’s valuable, so I know it’s good for
online courses keep students engaged
in the content, but they also provide a
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contrib-
way for faculty to make sure their stu-
uting editor for Campus Technology.
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C L O U D C O M P U T I N G david raths
A Data Commons for Scientific Discovery
The Open Cloud Consortium is working to meet the collaboration and data-management
needs of multi-institution big data projects.
Sharing Data
data needs who want to collaborate often have diffi-
“We started before the current inter-
culty finding venues to host their work. While the very
est at NSF and other funding agen-
largest projects, such as the Large Hadron Collider and
cies in big data and data science,”
Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, have the resources
said Grossman, who is a professor
to build their own infrastructure, and individual research-
in the division of biological sciences
ers with smaller projects can outsource to providers like
at the University of Chicago (IL).
Amazon Web Services, those in the middle range have
“There just wasn’t an interest in data-
fewer options.
intensive science or big data or sup-
So in 2008, a group of researchers came together to
porting data repositories at scale.
form the nonprofit Open Cloud Consortium (OCC), a
Rather than wait for NSF to become
shared cloud-computing infrastructure for medium-size,
interested in this, we decided to do
multi-institution big data projects. The OCC has grown to
it on our own.” The initial participat-
include 10 universities, 15 companies and five govern-
ing universities were Northwestern
ment agencies and national laboratories. In a recent inter-
(IL), the University of Illinois at
view with Campus Technology, OCC Director Robert
Chicago, Johns Hopkins (MD) and
Grossman discussed the organization’s relationship to
the University of California, San Diego, he said. “We set
Even with the increased focus on big data and data science
research universities’ IT departments, as well as its busi-
up a distributed cloud with a number of scientific data sets,
these days, there are still not many large-scale science
ness model and sustainability challenges.
which was the first version of the Open Science Data Cloud.”
clouds, he noted. “There are not many that are indepen-
TEAMS OF SCIENCE researchers with big-
OCC in Action
dent and multi-institutional like we are. It is kind of interest-
The OCC Open Science Data Cloud Working
ing that even after all this time we are still unique, which I
Group manages and operates the OSDC, which is a
Maria Patterson, scientific data lead for the OSDC at the
find kind of surprising.”
petabyte-scale science cloud for researchers to manage,
University of Chicago, also works on Project Matsu, for
analyze and share their large data sets. It is one of the
which the OCC hosts earth satellite imagery data in its
largest general-purpose science clouds in the world.
cloud. Project Matsu provides a platform for NASA scien-
OCC is based on the idea of a “data commons,” which
Grossman described as a collection of scientific data
either within a discipline or across disciplines. “The idea
The OCC Biomedical Commons Cloud Working
tists to process the satellite data, and OCC also makes the
is that co-locating compute over that data allows for dis-
Group is developing an open cloud-based infrastructure for
data available to the public. “We get the data 24 hours after
covery that might not be possible if you were just looking
sharing medical and healthcare data in a secure and com-
it is observed by the satellite,” Patterson explained. “We do
at your own data set,” he said. One of the motivations for
pliant fashion to support biomedical research.
in-house processing on it to come up with new algorithms.
creating OCC was to make it easier to create commons
of data that would support discovery.
Project Matsu is a collaboration between the NASA
We can slot in new analytics we want to apply and run over
Goddard Space Flight Center and the Open Cloud Con-
all the data. For instance, we could look at every pixel and
“Part of what we are trying to do with the Open Science
Data Cloud is make it easier for people to publish their data
sets,” Grossman said, and by and large most universities
aren’t able to do that. “Only a handful of them are set up for
that, because there are real costs involved,” he explained. In
sortium to develop open source technology for cloud-
classify it as vegetation, water, cloud or dry land.” One prac-
addition, he said, it became clear at the outset that if the
based processing of satellite imagery, to support the earth
tical use is helping Namibia identify flood-prone regions to
OCC organization were owned by any one university it would
science research community as well as human-assisted
help with flood and drought risk-management efforts.
be difficult for other universities to participate, “so we set it
disaster relief. This working group develops and operates
up as an independent 501(c)(3) to make it easier for us to be
the OCC Matsu Cloud.
a neutral player across organizations.”
Each Open Cloud Consortium project is managed and governed by a
working group that sets up the rules for that project in a collaborative way.
OCC also features a Bionimbus Protected Data Cloud
to host human genomic data in a secure, regulatory com-
The basic business model: Some of the larger projects
pliant way that gives access to researchers interested in
earmark a portion of their grant funding to be used for com-
working with that data. A separate project, the Genomic
How It Works
puting infrastructure services. In addition, OCC sometimes
Data Commons, is a partnership between OCC and the
In line with the concept of a commons, each OCC project
receives block grants or donations of equipment, and it will
National Cancer Institute to create a commons of human
is managed and governed by a working group that sets up
donate core hours through an allocation committee to meri-
genomic data for cancer researchers.
the rules for that project in a collaborative way.
torious projects. Alternatively, projects can pay as they go.
The OCC Web site gives other examples of researchers
clou d comput i ng
using its resources. For example, OSDC supports the
saying that Harvard uses the OSDC to process and provide
coveries. The question for the community is how is that
“Bookworm” project of Harvard University’s (MA) Cultural
fast, structured access to the data from huge digital libraries:
funded over time? Eventually we will probably move to a
Observatory, offering a way to interact with digitized book
“Currently that means a public-facing visualization at arxiv.
model in which grants have components of their funding
content and full-text search. Ben Schmidt, an assistant pro- that scientists can use to explore that set,
that they can spend at science clouds. But we are just
fessor of history at Northeastern University (MA) and for-
and a few databases under development including millions
beginning to move to that model.”
mer graduate fellow at the Cultural Observatory, is quoted as
of newspaper pages, historical journal articles, as well as
OCC’s evolving role may be of keen interest to campus
alternate routes for exploring the multi-
IT leadership, Grossman said. If a campus does not want
dimensional data made possible by index-
to bring up its own dedicated science cloud to support the
ing the data at a fine-grained level and
long-term maintenance of infrastructure to provide access
constructing queries after the fact.”
to data, then it could buy in for a period of time to a third-
Other Cloud
party infrastructure. “And as a not-for-profit, we are one of
Other organizations are working on developing big data cloud consortia. For
the options out there for universities that want to partici-
instance, the Massachusetts Open Cloud (MOC) is the result of a collaboration
Grossman said that although OCC is filling
pate but that don’t necessarily have their own infrastruc-
between the state, local universities and industry. According to its Web site, the
a valuable niche for science researchers
ture for sharing data. This is something universities are
idea behind the MOC is to enable multiple entities to provide (rather than just
and is growing, the sustainability model
thinking about and it is an option we provide.”
consume) computing resources and services on a level playing field. Companies,
going forward is still an open question.
He said among the most important services OCC can
researchers and innovators will be able to make hardware or software resources
“We are operating at quite a large scale
provide is a way to easily export data from the OSDC to
available to a large community of users through an Open Cloud Exchange. When
and there is still not the appetite in the
another cloud. It provides a metadata service, and an
the MOC was introduced in 2014, Gloria Waters, vice president and associate
community to pay for data and pay for
upload and download service that works over the high-
provost for research at Boston University, said it would be the first public open
usage,” he said. “Especially for the larger
performance networks that most research institutions
cloud platform designed to spur collaboration, innovation and economic develop-
projects, it can be quite expensive to do
have. “You have to be able to get your data out and into
ment in Massachusetts. She said it would “catalyze major research projects, and
this. I tend to think of OSDC as an instru-
other science clouds,” Grossman said. “A lot of our focus
serve as a new model in cloud computing and big data. Ultimately, the Massachu-
ment. You have microscopes for small
going forward is going to be making it easier for large-
setts Open Cloud aims to become an invaluable, self-sustaining R&D resource for
objects and telescopes for far objects; I
scale clouds to work together.”
the Commonwealth.”
think of the OSDC as a ‘datascope’ for
working with large data and making dis-
David Raths is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia.
back to TOC
is a pedagogical approach
in which direct instruction
moves from the group learning
space to the individual learning
space, and the resulting group
space is transformed into a
dynamic, interactive learning
environment where the educator guides students as they
apply concepts and engage
creatively in the subject matter.”
— Flipped Learning Network
From tech tools and tips to research and faculty support,
here’s everything you need to know about flipped learning.
Complete Guide to the Flipped Classroom
By Dennis Pierce
like their engagement with the course, their enthusiasm for the
might not realize,” Talbert said.
course, how hard they work and how well they communicate
For instance, because students are responsible for preparing
The nature of their questions changes pretty radically, too.
tion from a textbook or a video. “These self-regulated learning
“In traditional classrooms, I would constantly get students
skills are getting an intentional workout,” he explained.
asking me questions like: How do I start this problem? In
These days, Talbert finds his students to be much more
State University, has been flipping his classes for seven years.
receptive to the idea from the get-go: “Many students have
Talbert teaches Calculus I and a full-year course on discrete
had exposure to the flipped classroom before college, and
using a free, open source textbook written by one of his col-
so it’s not a brand-new concept when they get here.”
And it turns out that flipped learning isn’t such a hard sell,
even for students who still expect to be
created a YouTube channel with instructional videos that facul-
lectured to. “When I explain to them that
ty have recorded using simple screencasting software. For his
the flipped classroom builds their com-
discrete mathematics course, Talbert is finding and curating
munications skills, it builds their self-
online videos that students can watch before coming to class.
regulated learning skills and it builds
In both courses, students are given a structured, pre-
their content skills in a much stronger
class activity that gets them familiar with the lesson’s basic
way, they’re very ready to buy into this.”
concepts, so when they arrive in his class, “they’re ready to
In Talbert’s experience with the flipped
work at a higher level,” he said. That’s the essence of the
classroom, “I have more than enough
flipped class model: Students learn the basics on their own,
time to adequately explore all the con-
outside of class, so class time can be devoted to a deeper
cepts that students need in class togeth-
exploration of the content.
er, rather than sending them off on their
Back in the early days, when flipped learning was not very
own,” he said. “And very often students
common, “I had to work very hard to get students to see
are much stronger in aspects of their
that working in a flipped classroom was just as beneficial
learning that are not so easily measured,
the flipped classroom, I’m getting questions like: What’s a
good resource to help me understand this problem?”
That’s a very subtle but important shift in how students
approach problem solving, Talbert said — and it’s a direct
result of learning in a flipped classroom.4
leagues with flipped learning in mind, and his department has
with each other and with me.”
for class on their own, they are learning how to extract informa-
Robert Talbert, a math professor at Michigan’s Grand Valley
mathematics for computer science majors. For calculus, he is
to their learning, and it was helping them out in ways they
Complete Guide to the Flipped Classroom
By Dennis Pierce
sity’s Stern School of Business, said the flipped class-
but the videos need to be much shorter if they are going
room should be a challenge-based environment, where
to keep students’ interest. “The way to do that is to chunk
students are using higher-order thinking skills to interact
them into different parts,” he advised.
with the content at a deeper level.
“It’s a much more active model that requires partici-
online courseware provider edX, which suggested the
pation from both the students and the faculty,” she ex-
optimal video length for student engagement is six min-
plained. That requires faculty to spend more time “think-
utes or less. “We try to keep our videos under seven min-
ing through what happens in the classroom. It shouldn’t
utes,” she said.
be just a problem set.”
It’s also important to teach students how to watch the
Emory Craig, director of e-learning and instructional
videos, Bergmann said: “If you don’t show them how to
1) What happens inside the classroom is
more important than the videos.
technology at The College of New Rochelle (NY), said
interact with the videos very concretely, I think you’re set-
one flipped learning strategy that his faculty have found to
ting yourself up for failure.”
“It’s really, really important for professors to realize that
be effective is starting off each class period with a Q&A.
If students are just watching video clips and taking in
flipped learning isn’t about the videos — it’s about what
That way, “you get a sense of whether everyone has
information, “it’s a very passive activity,” he explained.
you’re going to do in class that adds value and engage-
viewed the material online,” Craig said. “You’re able to do
“You’ve got to build in some kind of interactivity, and then
ment for students,” said Jon Bergmann, one of the pio-
a quick in-class assessment of where everybody is: Did
teach students how to respond to that.”
neers of the flipped class concept and a board member
they understand the lesson? What kind of questions do
of the Flipped Learning Network.
they have from it?”
In higher education, “students tend to have a choice in
3) Constant communication is critical.
“My No. 1 piece of advice would be, make sure you have
open lines of communication with your students at all
have to give students a compelling reason to go to class,
2) But when you do focus on the videos,
make them short.
if they’re getting the content outside of class. You’ve got to
One of the biggest mistakes that Bergmann sees instruc-
a math professor at Grand Valley State University (MI).
really rethink class time to make it a richer, more meaningful
tors make when they’re first flipping their classroom is
“My past failures in the flipped classroom, and I’ve had
learning experience, so students will want to come.”
making their videos too long.
many of them, have stemmed from some kind of failure to
whether they will attend class,” Bergmann said. “So, you
Georgieva pointed to research involving massive open
times about everything,” recommended Robert Talbert,
Maya Georgieva, associate director of the Center for
“They record themselves talking for 45 minutes, like
communicate with my students: Either I wasn’t listening
Innovation in Teaching and Learning at New York Univer-
they’re giving their regular lecture,” Bergmann said —
to their complaints, or I didn’t communicate their role in
Complete Guide to the Flipped Classroom
the process clearly enough.”
pectations of what goes on in the classroom are very
Although today’s students were raised with technology
much shaped by their high school experience,” Craig
and are constantly using their mobile devices, “their ex-
noted. “And that’s something that can range from being
very innovative to very traditional.”
So, managing students’ expectations is just as important as communicating your own.
“You can’t just entrench yourself in the classroom and
say, ‘This is how it’s going to work, and it’s my way or the
highway.’ It’s a constant dialog, and you have to be willing to communicate clearly, listen and adjust to whatever
the situation might involve,” Talbert said.
Flipping one’s classroom requires a willingness to take risks and try something
new — and faculty won’t succeed without support from their institutions. Here are
4) Don’t try flipping your classroom alone.
three ways that campus administrators can help.
If you’re in a department with another person who might
Make yourself available to faculty. “It’s challenging when you turn a traditional
be interested in flipping the same course, “get together
model on its head,” said Emory Craig, director of e-learning and instructional tech-
and be partners in the process,” Talbert advised. “It cuts
nology at The College of New Rochelle (NY). “And it can be unsettling when
things don’t go as planned.”
That’s why campus administrators must make themselves available to support
their faculty. “You have to provide services on all fronts,” Craig said. His institution
has an open resource room where faculty can meet with ed tech support staff and get questions answered. “There are going
to be initial glitches with this,” he noted. “You want to provide the support that faculty need.”
Celebrate success. Colleges and universities can encourage the use of a flipped learning model by holding up successful
practitioners as examples for others to follow.
“Finding a way to celebrate and share success is important,” said Maya Georgieva, associate director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning at New York University’s Stern School of Business. “In many institutions, research is celebrated in a very particular way, and we need to be showcasing exemplary teaching as well.”
Rethink classroom spaces. Many classrooms are not designed to support active learning strategies. “Faculty need to be able
to move around freely,” Georgieva said. “Trying to do that in a classroom with bolted chairs is almost impossible.”
the workload in half.”
Plus, “if only one person in the department is flipping his
classroom, he kind of looks crazy to students,” he added.
“If two people are doing it, it looks like a trend” — and
students will be less inclined to resist this development.
5) Be patient.
“Give yourself time,” Talbert concluded. “Spend the summer doing your research and building your courseware.
Don’t try to do this next week. Find a partner, read up,
connect with other people who are doing this through
Twitter or the blogosphere, and make the leap only when
you’re ready.”4
Complete Guide to the Flipped Classroom
By David Raths
Side-by-Side Comparison
topic is that if students know they are part of an experi-
This semester, specifically for research purposes, Duke
ment, they tend to view it positively. “With MOOCs and
University (NC) chemistry professor Dorian Canelas is
flipped classes, just by virtue of how different the environ-
teaching two sections of a course, one flipped and one in
ment is and the fact that the instructors doing it are really
a more traditional lecture format. The provost’s office has
engaged and excited about the use of technology in the
created a flipped classroom working group to provide re-
classroom, you bias the outcomes in a way,” he said. “It is
sources for study design and assessment. “We are look-
challenging to assess what the traditional version of that
ing not only at how students are doing on tests, but also
experience would really look like.”4
at students’ self-reported gains, pre-
model has a positive impact on student outcomes. Last
test and post-test, with a standard-
year, a University of Washington “meta-analysis” of 225
ized national test in both classes,”
studies compared student performance in undergraduate
Canelas said. “We are trying to get
science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
at what other skills the students are
courses under traditional lecturing versus active learning:
gaining from being in a more active
“The results indicate that average examination scores im-
classroom environment,” she added.
proved by about 6 percent in active learning sections, and
“We would love to do a post-post test
that students in classes with traditional lecturing were 1.5
the following year to measure how
times more likely to fail than were students in classes with
long they are remembering things.”
tional Academy of Sciences.
Of course, setting up studies that
compare traditional and flipped classroom settings can be challenging,
teaching and learning continue to try to quantify the im-
and some research is more informal
pact of flipping, using traditional lecture classes as control
than statistically significant, controlled
groups. There is still a lot to learn and a need for more
studies. Todd Murphey, an associate
Nevertheless, faculty members, provosts and centers for
professor of mechanical engineering at Northwestern
University (IL), noted that one problem researching the
In general, research has shown that the flipped classroom
active learning,” the study noted in Proceedings of the Na-
evidence and detail on the many facets of a flip.
Complete Guide to the Flipped Classroom
Further Analysis
room students,” he said.
Rather than continuing to focus on using traditional lec-
Mennella has defined three main components of his
tures as control groups, the University of Washington study
class: initial exposure to content; personal reflection; and
suggested moving on to “second-generation research”
deeper manipulation of the content. He is studying all
6 Expert Tips for Flipping the Classroom
into which types of active learning are most appropriate
three components in both settings (flipped and unflipped)
Three leaders in flipped classroom instruction share
and efficient for certain topics or student populations. In
to better understand the pedagogical impact of flipping.
their best practices for creating a classroom experience
that vein, Thomas Mennella, an associate professor of bi-
Mennella hasn’t published his data yet, but he said both
guaranteed to inspire lifelong learning.
ology at Bay Path University (MA), is working on a re-
sets of students did well in the class, and the students in
Studies that compare traditional and flipped classroom settings can be
challenging. One problem researching the topic is that if students know
they are part of an experiment, they tend to view it positively.
2 Great Techniques for the Flipped Classroom
Inspire more student engagement in a flipped class
with these two pedagogy-driven methods.
How to Make the Most of the Flipped Classroom
Five professors share what they do to make class time
more interactive once lectures are out of the way.
search project in which he is attempting to isolate aspects
the flipped class reported slightly higher satisfaction with
of his flipped classroom.
the class. “But having taught both sections, I can say it
Research: Using Active Learning More Important
was so much more work to get those three components to
Than Flipping the Classroom
the unflipped group,” he noted.
An active learning approach produces the same
“I had a standard flipped class where lectures were recorded and we did review activities and critical thinking/
Mennella also said students in traditional lecture class-
group had lectures in class, but the students were given
rooms would never be able to handle the complexity of
nonflipped classrooms, according to research from
access to the recorded lectures to watch on their own. In
the exams he gives now in his flipped class. “The exams
Brigham Young University (UT).
addition, Mennella took the activities that were done in the
are eight essay questions, and four involve interpreta-
flipped class and assigned them to the unflipped class to
tions of scenarios we never talked about in class. I would
work on in groups or individually.
never have dreamed of giving an exam like that teaching
“As much feedback as I gave in the flipped classroom I
was giving one-on-one via e-mail to the unflipped class-
student learning outcomes in both flipped and
learning activities,” he explained. His “unflipped” control
the old way,” he said. “They didn’t know the material to
that depth.”4
Assessing the Flipped Classroom’s Impact
on Learning
Four California professors discuss their NSF-funded
study on how the flipped model benefits students.
Complete Guide to the Flipped Classroom
By Dennis Pierce
From screencasting to interactive presentations, here are
some resources to get a flipped class off the ground.
matics at Grand Valley State University (MI). “A colleague
of mine is using just the Doceri app on the iPad to create
screencasts, and that costs nothing.”
Explain Everything
share screencasts. The iPad version is free, and a Windows
Like Doceri, Explain Everything lets you create presentations
8.1 version costs $4.99.
or record screencasts to demonstrate a concept. The $2.99
Trying to record voice narration while also recording or
annotating a presentation can be challenging, and Doceri
simplifies this process with a timeline-based editor that lets
you capture a presentation first, then go back and add voice
Doceri is a versatile app that lets you create, share, anno-
narration where appropriate. You can also pause a record-
tate and control presentations, and you can also record and
ing as many times as you need.
Doceri also gives you many options for uploading or sharing screencasts. You can share a screencast directly to
YouTube or Facebook; send it privately as an e-mail attachment; save it to your camera roll; transfer it to your computer via iTunes; upload it to a learning management system or
Google Drive; incorporate it into iBooks Author; or import it
into iMovie, Adobe Premiere or other video editing software.
app is available for iOS, Android and Windows 8.1 devices.
With a $30 desktop version of Doceri, you can connect
Explain Everything allows you to import files, images and
an iPad to your computer, and the software mirrors your
videos for use in presentations from a wide variety of formats,
computer on the iPad.
including PDF, PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Keynote, Pages and
“I use Doceri to mirror my iPad screen to the computer
Numbers, as well as RTF files from Evernote, Dropbox, Box,
screen, and then I use a program called Camtasia to cap-
Google Drive, e-mail, iTunes and basically any app that al-
ture the video,” said Robert Talbert, a professor of mathe-
lows you to open these file types using the command “Open
Complete Guide to the Flipped Classroom
In.” You can create slides, draw in any color, add shapes or
Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn. You can
text, and use a laser pointer to annotate the presentation.
also track students’ responses to a poll or quiz and see who
Verso is another free tool that lets you add interactivity to your
Then, you can export the file as an MP4 video, PDF docu-
has viewed a recording. Mixes will play on mobile devices, but
presentations. Available as an iPad or Android app, Verso
ment, PNG image or XPL project directly from your device.
the interactive elements may not work on these devices.
makes it easy to push content to your students and gain some
Explain Everything is a “go to” app for faculty at The Col-
According to Jon Bergmann, a pioneer of the flipped
lege of New Rochelle (NY), said Emory Craig, director of
classroom and co-creator of, Office Mix
You can create what Verso calls a “flip” using video, au-
e-learning and instructional technology. “It’s not the only
is very useful “because it offers video creation and interac-
dio or photos that you create yourself or pull down from
screencasting app out there, but it has definitely worked
tion and hosting — all in one solution.”
the Web. By clicking on the “class” key, you can open a
well for us,” he said.
class discussion space and invite students to participate.
You can also push content and questions to students with
Office Mix
Screencast-O-Matic is a free browser-based app that lets
one click, view their responses in real time and star the best
For Windows users, Office Mix is a free add-on that lets
you create screencasts from a Mac or Windows computer
responses for further discussion in class.
you turn PowerPoint presentations into interactive online
without having to install any software.
videos, complete with built-in polls, quizzes and analytics to
This multiplatform app “is so simple, and yet so profound,”
With just one click from the Screencast-O-Matic Web
Bergmann said. “You upload a ‘flip’ to your learning manage-
site, you can bring up a screen recorder window, which you
ment system, which could be a video but also a PDF or any
Office Mix works on versions of Office 2013 or later, in-
can drag and resize to anywhere on your screen. You can
other asset, and there is a very simple box in which you can put
cluding the free Office 365 for educators. You can record
also record from a webcam. When you’re ready to start re-
a prompt. It’s like a discussion board on steroids. Students can
audio or video narration to accompany a presentation —
cording, you click the record button, and all action inside
see one another’s responses, and they can respond to one
there’s a “picture in picture” feature, so students can see
the frame is recorded for up to 15 minutes. You can pause
another’s responses. And you can have this great discussion.”
you as you’re explaining a slide — and you can use an ink-
or restart your recording, and you can upload it to YouTube
Plus, “it’s all anonymous,” Bergmann added. “It’s not like
ing tool to annotate slides as you record. You can also add
or save it as a video file.
check for understanding.
polls or quizzes within a recording.
visibility into their questions and understanding.
the kid who always raises his hand gets all the attention,
Upgrading to a Pro account, which costs $15 per year, gives
because nobody knows who it is. But it’s not anonymous
When you’re done recording, you can upload your mix to a
you additional features, such as editing tools to cut, zoom and
to the professor, who can see what each student is say-
free Office Mix hosting portal. From this portal, you can view,
add text overlays to your recordings. A Pro account also lets
ing. The professor can also group students together and
manage and share your recording by copying and pasting a
you publish to Google Drive, password-protect your uploads
prompt them with another question, to continue the discus-
URL, using an embed code or clicking a button to share via
and run the recorder outside your browser when you’re offline.
sion and take it to the next level.”4
Complete Guide to the Flipped Classroom
By David Raths
their own wherever they live.
“We have them do the same homework and we synchro-
With 450 students in nine sections, it had been difficult
nize them with an online discussion platform called Piazza,”
for Ferri to get the consistency in student outcomes she
added Ferri. She and her teaching assistants go into the
wanted. But by “MOOC-ifying” the large course, she was
Piazza forum several times a day to review and endorse an-
able to offer more in-class activities and standardize the
swers students are giving each other.
student experience across sections. “Any time you have
Ferri was pleasantly surprised to find that the MOOC stu-
different instructors teaching at different paces, they em-
dents were helping the on-campus students. For instance,
phasize different things and don’t finish all the topics,” she
What happens when you combine a massive open online
a Georgia Tech student posted a re-
course and a flipped course? More interactivity, more con-
quest for a brief summary of the use of
sistency and some interesting avenues of student interac-
oscilloscopes, and a few hours later a
tion, according to Bonnie Ferri, professor and associate
MOOC student posted a brilliant, pre-
chair for undergraduate affairs in Georgia Tech’s School of
cise description. “I started asking the
Electrical and Computer Engineering.
MOOC students about themselves,”
Ferri teaches a course called Circuits and Electronics,
she recalled. “They are mathemati-
with 450 students per term split into several sections. A
cians who wanted to learn something
year and a half ago, she developed two MOOCs (delivered
about circuits and electronics, or they
through Coursera) in conjunction with the class. “We of-
are physicists or engineers who took
fer the MOOC videos simultaneously to the public and on-
this material years ago and want to
campus students,” she explained. The on-campus students
remind themselves about it. Many are
watch all the videos, then they come to class and do a vari-
working professionals. They can intro-
ety of activities — including labs — using handheld devices
duce comments based on experienc-
such as a National Instruments myDAQ, or a Digilent Dis-
es that our students just don’t have.
covery Board, which has a suite of electronic instruments
One talked about how they use certain
for performing experiments. The MOOC students can buy
sensors in the automotive industry. I’ve
the same devices at student prices and do experiments on
had personal comments from students
that this type of interaction is phenomenal.”
At Georgia Tech, on-campus students watch MOOC videos and
come to class ready to perform experiments and other activities.
MOOC students do the same work at home and join in online
Complete Guide to the Flipped Classroom
explained. Now, all the sections watch the same lectures
other words, he took a full term of ideas and pushed it into
did a calculation to assess the rate heat was expanding
online and take the same tests. “Twice a year we take over
2.5 hours worth of videos.
through the skillet based on when the bacon heated up. It
the building and 450 students take tests at the same time,”
He then decided to have on-campus students watch the
was a light and accessible way of thinking of a concrete
she said. “We nailed it in terms of consistency. Performance
videos and use the Coursera environment for homework in
application of the math the students are learning, yet it
has gone up and we got the consistency we wanted.”
parallel with the MOOC students. And the Northwestern
was very sophisticated.”
students got to see some of the things the Coursera stu-
Connecting Online
dents were doing.
The on-campus students benefited from interacting with
online students, he noted. For instance, MOOC participants
When Todd Murphey, an associate professor of mechanical
Like Georgia Tech’s Ferri, Murphey said some of the
talked about what they did in their jobs, and the Northwest-
engineering at Northwestern University (IL), developed a
contributions from MOOC students were valuable for the
ern students found that exciting. On the flip side, the online
MOOC course on systems theory, he saw it as an opportu-
Northwestern students to see. One assignment asked stu-
students benefited from exposure to cutting-edge thinking
in the field. “For them, the cross-pollination is not with the
“One of the big opportunities in flipping the classroom was that
it allowed me to get rid of all the technology in the classroom. My
classroom became as unstructured as it had ever been and that is
part of what the students really like.” — Todd Murphey, Northwestern University
individual students as much as it is with the student body,”
he said. “They get to take a course and get better aligned
with what students coming out of university right now perceive as important problems, and how they communicate
with employers.”
Having the video lectures has changed what happens in
Murphey’s Northwestern classroom. “One of the big oppor-
nity to revise the systems theory class taken by all first-year
dents to videotape their own experiments and get peer-
tunities in flipping the classroom was that it allowed me to
engineering students on campus.
assessed. Very few of the 30,000 people who signed up
get rid of all technology in the classroom,” he said. He had
One significant change involved the way he delivered lec-
for the MOOC took on the challenge of creating their own
traditionally done what a lot of other instructors do: teach-
ture content. “When I designed the Coursera class, one
demonstrations, Murphey said, but “nevertheless, we got
ing with slides. “Now with online videos, I decided to re-
challenge was to keep the content as compact as online
pedagogical value we would never have been able to get
duce the classroom dependence on prefab stuff and really
content needs to be,” Murphey said, “so I ended up taking
otherwise. There is no way I would have thought of all
focus on being reactive to what the class needed,” he said.
a 10-week class and made it an eight-week class with three
those applications. Some were funny. One guy did a heat
“My classroom became as unstructured as it had ever been
lectures a week, each an average of seven minutes long.” In
transfer idea using a skillet on a stove with bacon. He
and that is part of what the students really like.”4
Complete Guide to the Flipped Classroom
By Leila Meyer
A lower-tech way to include the instructor in the video
lecture uses a 3D camera mounted on the instructor’s
computer, much like an ordinary webcam. Personify is
software that inserts a video of the instructor into a
for students to see the presentation material clearly. To
PowerPoint presentation or other online material. The
address that problem, Penn State University recently
instructor records himself with the 3D camera, and Per-
The best flipped courses provide students with compelling,
implemented dynamic green screen technology called
sonify automatically filters out the background so the
interactive learning content to hold their attention outside of
Chromatte from Reflecmedia in some of its One Button
instructor appears in front of the presentation material
class. Here are five ways to take lecture videos to the next level.
Studio video recording studios. Chromatte is a fabric
in the video, just as if he had filmed himself in front of a
made of tiny glass beads. It comes with a ring of LEDs
green screen. While the resulting video of the instructor
1) Dynamic Green Screen
that go around a camera lens, and those lights can shine
may not have the high production polish of one filmed in
While it’s possible to simply record a professor standing
green or blue light on the Chromatte to change the col-
a studio in front of a green screen, it makes it possible for
in front of a whiteboard or projection, it can be difficult
or of the background in a video. “It makes it possible
instructors to record video lectures anywhere, anytime —
to adapt the backdrop on the fly very quickly,” said Kyle
even at home.
Chromatte uses a ring of LEDs to change the
color of the background in a video.
2) Virtual Green Screen
Bowen, director of Education Technology Services at
A key feature of strong academic content is that it’s up-
Penn State. “And that makes it possible to set up these
to-date and timely, but instructors don’t have much time
kinds of studios in smaller-sized rooms using less light-
available to record lectures, pointed out John Lammers,
ing, so it simplifies the setup of a studio.”
professor of communication and director of the Health
Recording the instructor in front of the green or blue
Communication program at the University of Illinois at
screen allows presentation materials (such as a PowerPoint
Urbana-Champaign. “The instructor, especially in a re-
presentation, image or video) to be dropped into the video
search university like Illinois, really doesn’t want to spend
digitally. The presentation material takes up the entire frame
a lot of time figuring out how to put a lecture togeth-
and appears as clear and crisp as the instructor footage. “It
er,” said Lammers. “With Personify, I can put together a
gets digitally added after the video gets created, and that
20-minute presentation that’s useful to my students in
results in a much higher quality video,” said Bowen.
about an hour.”4
Complete Guide to the Flipped Classroom
3) Lightboard
rescent markers, so the writing “glows” in front of the per-
Sometimes instructors need to record themselves writing
son. On camera, the writing appears reversed but can be
mathematical formulas or other information on a whiteboard
digitally flipped or recorded with a mirror. “You’re looking
as they explain the concept to their students. But in a typi-
right through the board at your camera, at your students,
cal video production setup, part of the written material is
and the writing is not obscured by you, it’s in front of you,”
blocked by the instructor’s body, and instructors have to
explained Peshkin. “And so that just gives you a little bit
turn their back to the camera. Michael Peshkin, a profes-
better sense of engagement with your students as you’re
sor of engineering at Northwestern University (IL), solved
talking, and gives them a better sense that they’re being
these problems by creating Lightboard.
spoken to, rather than somebody just writing.”
Lightboard is an illuminated 4-by-8-foot sheet of glass.
The Lightboard itself costs about $2,000 for the glass and
The instructor writes on the glass from behind using fluo-
frame, and Peshkin said he spent another $10,000 on video
equipment, lighting, cameras and other recording equipment.
Mediasite MultiView allows students to view
multiple video streams at once.
Courtesy of Sonic Foundry
ously or zoom in on one or the other.
He developed Lightboard as open source hardware, so oth-
“We’ve got a lot of faculty who like to use animations or
ers (including Penn State’s One Button Studios) have adopt-
YouTube videos during their lecture,” said Asa Kelley, me-
ed the technology and modified it to suit their own purposes.
dia technician at Bloomsburg. “MultiView can record both
streams in full motion so the full integrity of the presentation
4) Multi-Perspective Video Capture
is sustained for students who are reviewing it after class or
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania has been using
experiencing it through distance learning environments.”
Mediasite from Sonic Foundry for several years, but last year the
The university has the system built into five of its class-
university implemented the platform’s multi-perspective video
rooms, and many of the instructors are using the technology
capture tool called Mediasite MultiView, which records both
to flip their classrooms. For example, an instructor in the
the instructor and the presentation materials. While Chro-
university’s American Sign Language English Interpreting
matte, Personify and Lightboard produce a video where the
program finds the tool particularly useful because she signs
Lightboard allows instructors to write on a “whiteboard”
without turning their back to the camera.
instructor and presentation materials appear in the same
in one screen while her PowerPoint slides display in the
view, Mediasite MultiView captures multiple video streams
other screen, and her students can zoom in on the video of
Courtesy of Penn State University
and allows students to view them side-by-side simultane-
her signing to see a larger view.4
Complete Guide to the Flipped Classroom
until they answer the question. Zdrojewski likes it because
What Does
Look Like?
teachers can find out how well their students understood
By David Raths
5) Interactive Video
Rob Zdrojewski, an adjunct professor in Education Technologies and Emerging Media at Canisius College (NY),
uses a free tool called eduCanon that can embed questions
into online videos to create interactive lessons. As students
watch a video, it pauses wherever the instructor has embedded a question, and students can’t continue watching
quarter. “The agenda was designed by each faculty group,”
said Beth Kalikoff, director of the university’s Center for
Teaching and Learning. “It is the nature of these learning
communities that the agenda is determined by the people
in the room.” Among the issues they addressed was how to
explain the flipping concept to students.
Faculty fellowships. Duke University (NC) created faculty
fellowships almost 15 years ago as a way to support faculty using new technology or new teaching methods. For the last few
the video lecture before they come to class. “It gives the
teacher insight because without it, you assign a video to
It’s important to create a support structure for faculty mak-
years, one of the fellowships has focused on active learning
watch and have no idea if the students have watched it or
ing the switch to the flipped classroom. Here are three ap-
and flipping the classroom. “There has been a growing interest
what they’ve gained from it,” he said. While the free version
proaches that work:
in the past few years, so we are responding to demand,” said
Monthly seminars. At the University of Pennsylvania,
Randy Riddle, an academic technology consultant at Duke.
about 20 faculty members get together on a monthly ba-
Participants in the Flipping the Classroom Faculty Fellowship
For those who have more money to spend and want to adopt
sis to talk through their flipped classroom challenges. They
met every three weeks, observed flipped classrooms and re-
a campuswide solution, TechSmith Relay is another option.
are participating in the Structured, Active, In-class Learning
ported on best practices. The fellowship meetings themselves
TechSmith Relay offers built-in quizzing and analytics and in-
Program. “We have them observe each other’s classes, and
were run as a flipped class — helping make the faculty mem-
cludes hosted video and image management. Zdrojewski was
this seminar is a place where faculty who are beginning to
bers feel comfortable with the idea that you can learn a lot in a
a beta tester for TechSmith Relay, so he has experience with
see they have questions find ways to pursue answers,” said
flipped class environment.
both tools. “TechSmith Relay is an all-in-one hosting solution,”
Bruce Lenthall, executive director of the university’s Center
he said. “The TechSmith servers hold your content. You can
for Teaching and Learning.
of the tool offers a limited number of question types, a premium version is available that offers more options.
nity was led by a facilitator and met every other week for a
even pull in YouTube videos and then narrate on top of them
Self-directed learning communities. As part of a 2012
as well, so the functionality that you’re doing with eduCanon
initiative about active learning and flipping the classroom,
can also be done with TechSmith Relay, and all of your videos
the University of Washington created five learning com-
are all in one spot, where you have control over sharing them.”
munities with a total of 62 faculty members. Each commu-
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia.
Dennis Pierce is a freelance writer who has been covering
education and technology for more than 17 years.
David Raths is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia.
back to TOC
C-Level View
Why You Now Need a Team to Create and Deliver Learning
In an increasingly competitive environment, higher ed institutions that use a team-based approach
to creating and delivering education content and learning experiences will thrive.
By Mary Grush
Institutions employing a team-based ap-
Daniel Christian: Let me start by clarifying
Christian: Yes, that’s true. But it’s really
find that some content comes from fac-
proach to the creation and delivery of
the scope of most of my following com-
more than that. It’s the production and de-
ulty members themselves, some from the
education content and experiences will
ments. I’m focusing my reflections here on
livery of the whole learning experience. In
teams at various publishing companies,
differentiate themselves and succeed,
the academic portion of the collegiate expe-
this sense, the production is focused on
some is developed through faculty col-
even as the pace of change — both in
rience — that is, what learners see/read/do/
the learner’s needs; it’s not just using tech-
laborations internally, and some is gleaned
technology and in the disciplines — ac-
experience within the context of a “class,”
nology to produce content.
from open source avenues. So course
celerates, according to Daniel Christian,
whether their classroom space is online,
a senior instructional designer at Calvin
blended or face-to-face. For this conversa-
what is really a multifaceted argument for
College (MI). Teams will be structured
tion I won’t be able to address the wide
taking this team-based approach. I fully
and function differently at each institu-
range of other important benefits and are-
realize that the concept is not new; many
duction levels does the resulting course
tion, but they all share a prime advantage:
nas of a collegiate experience such as net-
institutions — especially those heavily
content fall into? Low? Medium? High?
the ability to guide their institutions to
working, maturing into an adult, being within
into online learning — are already using
How well done and polished is the con-
thrive in higher education’s increasingly
a community of peers, attending activities on
a team-based approach, and of course,
tent? This is where institutions need to
competitive environment. CT explored the
campus, co-curricular work and so forth.
some have for many years.
take control and build teams charged with
idea with Christian.
That said, let’s take a high-level look at
But what patterns emerge for the majorCT: You are also not really talking
ity of institutions? If we were to poll 1,000
CT: There’s a growing need for institu-
about the particular model or structure
faculty members from a variety of institu-
tions to take a team-based approach
of the course — such as collaborative
tions, and ask them who creates the con-
to creating and delivering learning ex-
or team learning. What you are talking
tent that they use in their classrooms, what
periences. What do you mean by that?
about, then, is course production?
would the data say? My guess is we’d
content is already, almost by definition,
coming from multiple sources.
The question then becomes: What pro-
the creation and delivery of top-notch
course content.
CT: Who would be on these teams?
Christian: You might find — along with
C-Level View
subject-matter experts like faculty —
tremendous time and effort just to remain
Christian: We’re constantly reminded
specialists in digital video, digital audio,
current and effective in one’s own field,
of the growing expectations of students,
review each major piece of content
graphic design, instructional design, user
much less keep up with education technol-
and the core technologies institutions
(text/graphics, digital audio, digital vid-
experience design, Web design, pro-
ogy change. As a savvy faculty team mem-
need to have in place just to keep up with
eo, animations).
gramming and software engineering, ac-
ber you will leverage the team process in a
ever more sophisticated demands from
cessibility and Section 508 compliance,
way that will allow you to spend more time
constituents. Yes, those core technolo-
ticated technology to offer you a per-
animation, script writing/narrative, rights
extending the reach of your content and
gies may include some social software,
sonalized approach through the content.
management, content management, proj-
professional work — rather than struggling
but the overall production and delivery
Feedback on how you are progressing is
ect management and more.
to get personally up-to-date on the latest
of course content will still benefit from
sent to the faculty member for their review.
Photoshop tool enhancement.
higher production values when it comes
Audio/video feedback is available 24/7
to satisfying constituents.
from the faculty member to the students,
Teams will look and function differently
at different institutions, but one thing is
A choice for how you want to learn/
Option #3: This course uses sophis-
clear: It’s becoming increasingly difficult,
CT: What about the notion of self-
if not impossible, for one person to “do
publishing and the argument that now
choices, which online or blended course
dents to the faculty member. Tools are
it all.” Does any single faculty member,
anyone can be a content producer?
would you choose to take?
available for you to collaborate with the
even one who chooses to immerse him-
For example, given the following
from students to students and from stu-
Option #1: This online or blended
faculty member and with other students
or herself in technology, have all the skill
Christian: Low-budget productions can
course has content that is mainly com-
at any time. Virtual reality and augmented
sets, hardware, software and facilities or
work — we’ve all seen examples of highly
posed of black-and-white text, with an oc-
reality-based exercises are provided.
technical resources to produce consis-
successful ones — and perhaps a “Mom
casional graphic or photo. There are links
tent, high-quality content? I don’t think
and Pop” learning experience is actually
out to other articles and occasional links to
CT: Aren’t you stacking the deck a
so … at least that would be a rare per-
fine and may even be preferred by some
videos on external sites.
bit here?
son indeed.
people in certain instances. However, I’m
Various, specialized contributing roles
are now necessary, so we build teams.
CT: What’s the advantage for faculty?
thinking as education technologies evolve,
tive, highly sophisticated, polished, profes-
Christian: Okay, maybe. Still, although
and new possibilities unfold before us,
sionally done content, including:
they are fictional scenarios, these three
one-off personal faculty productions just
Educational games and interactive ac-
won’t be a good option for institutions to
tivities complete with incentive and scoring
and do serve to make a point. My guess
entertain going forward.
systems for additional motivation;
is you would choose either Option #2 or
Christian: We should keep in mind that
for the most important member of the
CT: How does this all fit in with stu-
team, the teaching faculty member, it takes
dent needs and expectations?
Option #2: This course features interac-
examples are based on real technologies
The use of digital storytelling;
Option #3. These more engaging courses
Interactive videos and e-learning mod-
are built with options that require the use
ules; and
of teams of specialists to execute. The
C-Level View
institution, in order to provide these
even add a new “hat” to the collective
choices for you, will have to step up
team membership if they want to em-
to the bar and build the team that will
ploy a new technology that’s been on
create these options for you.
their radar screen.
Better use of faculty and instruc-
CT: Could you cite some addi-
tional time may be hard to measure,
tional rationale for taking a team-
but there are huge advantages when
based approach?
faculty are freed up to teach, address
particular questions or orchestrate
Christian: There are ample issues
hands-on activities. The “flipping the
to consider. For example, a team-
classroom” model helps to illustrate
based approach could raise the
these types of affordances.
possibility of more affordable busi-
Your team is more than instruc-
ness models: Core content could be
tional design on steroids. It’s the
repurposed or remixed. The use of
strategic use of human resources to
teams and pooled resources (even
bring students a substantially better
with other institutions or consortia)
education experience and raise the
could help deliver the basic content
bar for the quality of education of-
and do much of the heavy lifting of
fered by your institution.
teaching a given course.
Another big advantage to the team
Still, to offer you perhaps the most
compelling reason institutions may
strategy is that having multiple team
want to consider a team-based ap-
members fosters diverse perspec-
proach: Higher education institutions
tives. Decision-making power shifts to
that intentionally move toward using
a team of people, not just one person;
a team-based approach to creating
this brings in additional and potentially
and delivering the majority of their
fresh ideas. Teams may delegate the
education content and learning ex-
responsibility of tracking certain trends
periences will stand out and be suc-
to member X or member Y; they might
cessful over the long run.
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vol. 28 no. 7
Link Alander
Vice Chancellor and CIO, Lone Star College System (TX)
Keith Bailey
Director, Office of Online Learning, University of Georgia
Edward Chapel
Senior Vice President, NJEDge; former VP for IT,
Montclair State University (NJ)
Maya Georgieva
Associate Director, Center for Innovation in Teaching and
Learning, NYU Stern School of Business
Thomas Hoover
Associate Vice Chancellor and CIO,
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Kim Cliett Long
Director, The Center for Excellence in Distance Learning,
Wiley College (TX)
Alexandra M. Pickett
Associate Director, SUNY Learning Network,
State University of New York
Sue Talley
Dean of Technology, Capella University (online)
Abilene Christian University (TX)........2
Bay Path University (MA).................. 31
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
............................................................... 37
Boston University (MA)...................... 25
Brigham Young University (UT)........ 31
Calvin College (MI)............................. 39
Canisius College (NY)....................... 38
Carnegie Mellon University (PA).........3
College of New Rochelle, The (NY)
.................................................28–29, 33
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(various locations)..................................9
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George Washington University (DC)
Georgia Tech....................................... 34
Grand Valley State University (MI)
.................................................27–28, 32
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Northwestern University (IL)
..........................................23, 30, 35, 37
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